Ontological uncertainty in literature

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  • Publicado : 11 de septiembre de 2012
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Compare ontological uncertainty in Never Let Me Go 
and Beyond Black.

Ontology uncertainty compels us to rethink our most deeply rooted beliefs, the ones formerly accepted by us, sometimesthoughtlessly. And this seems to be one of the pursuits of contemporary literature.

These two books aim to do this in different ways: Never Let Me Go defies our concept of humanity, and analyses thepurpose of our lives; Beyond Black makes us question even our idea of reality, of what belongs to its realm or to that of imagination. Both books create an atmosphere of distress which emanates not onlyfrom the plot, but from the feeling of having to adjust yourself to new perspectives that you had not previously considered.

Ishiguro presents us a community of clones, identical to any other uppermiddle class children but, gradually, you understand they have been artificially created to serve as donors of organs for the “really” human. The threat of death is looming throughout the novel.We feel close to these students and averted from the humans that appear in wheelchairs after receiving the organs. We wonder who is really human here. In spite of her different origin, Kathy possessesall the characteristics we think of as “humane”: she loves, she cares for others, has deductive intelligence, looks for answers to the deepest questions of life: why do we have to die? Is love reallythe answer?

And these clones produce art, which is supposed to prove the existence of their “souls”. However, though the possession of a soul has traditionally been attached only to human beings,these real” people feel repugnance towards them. Is it fear for what is different or is it their defence against guilt? Or is it just the repulsion of the rich towards the poor? As Miss Emily says:“they wanted you back in the shadows”.

Since nowadays science is approaching several tricky fields related to the human genome, our concept of what converts a set of cells into “a person” may have...
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